Palette Inspiration: Cherry & Camel

Isn't this colour combination to die for? It's the best of both worlds - neutral, yet bold. I'd love to see this palette used for a female twenty-something's loft (not to name any names...).


Designer Series: Interview with Bella Mancini

I had unofficially ended The Beautiful Shelter Designer Series a few months ago, only to receive an email from designer Bella Mancini recently, asking if it was too late to participate. Needless to say, there are exceptions to every rule...particularly when you're as talented as Bella. I'm thrilled to reopen the series to share an interview with one of New York Magazine's Top 100 Interior Designers!

Jenna: When did you know you were destined for a career in interior design?
Bella: I was working in fashion advertising and very impulsively quit my job one day. I didn’t see it coming and didn’t have a plan, but I was young and broke and it got me thinking about what I really loved – what made me happiest. I realized I would be a very smart and lucky girl if I figured out a way to turn my favorite hobby into a career. Once I landed an assistant job in an interior design firm I knew that I was finally on the right career path.

Jenna: What was your first big design break?
Bella: My first big break in design was when the very amazing Wendy Goodman included my new firm in her list of Top 100 Interior Designers in NY Magazine. The article came out in 2000, and we’re still getting calls from it. I will never forget her for that – I am not sure we even deserved it at the time, so it truly felt like a gift and big break!

Jenna: Can you tell us about your first job in the design field?
Bella: I worked as an assistant to the very talented Ellen Hamilton who was both a great boss and incredible mentor. I was her design assistant and mostly did paperwork and answered phones. The most important part of my job (to me) was that I learned how to run and ID business. My time there was a fantastic education.

Jenna: What's inspiring you right now?
Bella: I am very inspired by my clients, believe it or not. I talk to them about what they love/don’t love about their home, how they live in it, and really learn WHO lives in it. I find that once they tell their story and tell me how they envision living in their new space I am so inspired that I am able to come up with all sorts of ideas that are right for them, and them alone.

Jenna: Where are your favourite places to shop?
Bella: I love to shop in other cities – even when they carry the same things that my regular haunts in NYC carry. Somehow when it’s merchandised in a way I haven’t seen before it is fresh and inspiring. Los Angeles has been particularly inspiring to me lately. I think because I am from California I am drawn to the relaxed elegance of California design. That chilled out look feels a little forced here in NYC, where tailored looks work for our spaces a little more effortlessly.

Jenna: What is your design philosophy?
Bella: I feel that next to good health, family, and friendship, there is nothing more important than the home. This philosophy is with me in each and every project I take on. As corny as it sounds, I truly believe that I can make my clients lives happier through the beauty of a well designed home.

Jenna: What is your most memorable travel destination?

Bella: For scenery alone I’d say that New Zealand is my most memorable travel destination. I was completely awestruck by the beauty of it – the color, the texture, the varied terrain. I felt more alive hiking there than ever before. It was truly a life-changing trip.

Jenna: What is your favourite hotel?
Bella: The Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California. My husband and I spent 2 nights there when we were first dating and I’ll never forget the experience. They just get it right and it was all so memorable – from the rooms themselves to nature walks to eating above the clouds in the restaurant it was perfect.

Jenna: What is your preferred room to design in a home?
Bella: I love designing master bedrooms. It’s the one place in a home where husbands usually defer completely to their wives and the one room in the house that no matter what the clients’ style, it ends up being a little bit feminine. It’s also a place where clients get to be a little selfish – it gets to be a refuge from the chaos of the rest of the house (kids, dogs, etc) and we get to use more refined fabrics and a paler selection of color. It’s usually a departure from the rest of the home.

Jenna: What are your "best practices" for accessorizing a room?
Bella: By the end of a project most clients have learned a lot about what they like and don’t like and feel confident picking things up along the way. If I am helping them select things I typically just want to help them to buy things that actually mean something to them. There is nothing weirder to me than a bookshelf full of books that look like they’ve never been opened.

Jenna: What's the biggest design risk you've taken?
Bella: The 10’ chandelier we designed for a client with a small, local vendor we’d never used. We were terrified, but it turned out beautifully and the client loves it so it turned out well in the end.

Jenna: What has been the greatest lesson since opening your business?
Bella: That you should trust your instincts about potential clients. I will never again try to talk anyone into to hiring me, nor will I try to convince someone that my fee structure is fair. It’s sort of like dating: if you have to beg someone to like you and see how great you are then they probably aren’t the one.

Jenna: What's next for you?
Bella: More of the same! I love my staff and what we do and I am incredibly proud of the work we turn out. Oh, and I am off to Paris in a few weeks and hope to come back with a ton of new ideas.

Thank you for this interview, Bella! Be sure to visit her beautiful portfolio at Bella Mancini Design.


The Best of Flushmounts

I truly believe great design is in the details, including everything as seemingly trivial as the flushmounts on the ceiling. I'm working with a client to revamp her new condo, and she's in need of updated lighting. We've chosen a beautiful (but not over the top) chandelier for her dining room, a feminine pendant for her master bedroom, and I can't help but offer up my two cents on the remaining flushmounts. They're the type of thing that when they're nice, they go relatively unnoticed, but when they're bad, they're BAD.

I steer far away from ever recommending the general hardware store's 'Madonna' type fixture....you know, this one:
But I've had several questions about the best flushmounts for overall lighting and I figured it was time to get back to blogging...

Here are my top six (I couldn't get rid of one) flushmount lighting suggestions:

1. Heath Flushmount by Restoration Hardware
I must admit, I recommend this light regularly because it works so well in traditional, transitional and modern spaces (I think that covered them all?). Restoration Hardware offers it in a variety of sizes and finishes, and all for a reasonable price (and they ship quickly)! When in doubt, use Heath.

2. White Fabric Flushmount
A fabric flushmount offers a beautiful softness that works particularly well in bedrooms. I like this design's reference to the popular circular pendant shade, but in a flushmount style - and the price is right!

3. Middlebury Round by Hudson Valley
The detail on this light is what makes it so appealing to me - and it provides the right amount of sophistication where a flushmount is required. It also comes in a square version, various sizes and three finishes...it's high-end in every way ($$).

4. Siena Flushmount by Circa Lighting
This nautical-inspired light is simple enough to go unnoticed, yet with enough nickel (or chrome, bronze or brass) to garner positive attention on the ceiling. I wouldn't think twice about using this in a cottage.

5. Nouveau Doughnut Flushmount by Robert Abbey
Generally, I lean towards round flushmounts (I guess that's obvious), but I love this transitional piece by Robert Abbey. It's quite understated and likely to stand the test of time.
6. Large Basil Flushmount by Alexa Hampton
I absolutely ADORE this light (particularly in brass)! I'm a huge fan of the quatrefoil pattern and this adds just a touch of whimsy and elegance to a front foyer or bathroom that doesn't have the height for a pendant.

There you have it - even flushmounts can be beautiful things.


Staying on Course

Photo via Pinterest

"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically—to say 'no' to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside."
— Stephen Covey


Top Five Fall Items

1. Terrain Pendleton Travel Throw, $108. I first spotted a leather carrier throw at a Kravet showroom and fell in love with its rustic cowboy appeal. This is a much more reasonable option, with the same country charm.

2. John Derian Moroccan Pouf in Grey, $295. I've seen moroccan poufs like this often recently, but this particular shade of gray has a lilac undertone that's undeniably unique (best seen in person). Forget children's rooms...I'd love one of these poufs as an ottoman in an eclectic living room.

3. Regina Andrew Arc Floor Lamp, $889. This, to me, is a much more sophisticated version of the popular oversized arc lamp that has been spotted in many mod living spaces. It's curves are perfection.

4. Etsy Grey Beaded Ribbon Spiral Necklace, $28. I'm always reluctant to wear jewellry that's very bold (I must get over this..), but this conservative ribbon necklace is the perfect touch of elegance and charm.

5. EmersonMade London Coat, $368. I'm obsessed with this coat. The impeccable tailoring (love the lining!), wide fit and stark contrast are things Audrey Hepburn would have approved of.

Now to work on the funds...


Coming to Fruition

Image found here.

When I was younger, I used to dream about all of the things I wanted to become. I wanted to be a teacher, baker, mother, pilot, architect, dermatologist (that was short-lived), journalist...you name it, I wanted to be it. Thankfully, my parents encouraged me to think with an open mind, and while they probably laughed to themselves at some of my lofty goals, their kind support never ceased.

In all the years, one continuous desire of mine has been to own my own business. It literally started as that, with "but I don't know what in". I just wanted to have control of my own purpose and success. At eleven, a friend and I started a dog walking business for a whopping $2 a walk. Not surprisingly, we were no Olson twin child millionaires, but that entrepreneurial spirit kept me dreaming up new ventures and eventually brought me through business school.

A short time after finishing the program, I realized what that business was (no doubt, a light bulb moment) - interior design. I wanted to design beautiful spaces where people could relax, entertain, raise families and live.

So here I am, finally at the brink of my entrepreneurial venture. After completing the required schooling last year, I am now a Certified Interior Decorator and I'm thrilled to have registered a business - Cadieux Design.

While I continue my day job at an interior design firm, I am happy to be making a personal step in the right direction.  As side projects come to completion and photographs can be shared, I will build the website and share them on here. I am also considering offering online design services, so you may see some of this in the future!

Here's to pursuing dreams!


Fall Colour Collections

I've had the opportunity at work to order dozens and dozens of sofas and chairs for a new showroom that's opening this fall. It was important to be thinking in an "autumn" frame of mind while selecting fabrics and colours for these pieces, even if it was July when they were ordered. These were the primary colour combinations I zeroed in on. We'll see if I hit the mark in a few weeks.

All photos via pinterest.


Palette Inspiration: Gold & Vintage Rose

[Excuse my technical issues with this post...sometimes Blogger and I don't see eye to eye..]


Autumn Day Trips

We spent yesterday exploring a beautiful park about an hour from home. Even a short escape from the suburbs feels like a getaway. A delicious lunch and the cool autumn breeze; I'm so glad it's fall.


London Fog

On this first weekend of fall, I've started my morning with a warm London Fog tea in hand. It's a sweet, tea latte that is delicious any time of year, and can easily be made at home (you need a steamer or milk frother).

Brew 3/4 cup of Earl Grey tea (the stronger the better, I say). 
Remove bag. 
Add 1-1/2 tablespoons of vanilla syrup. 
Add 1/2 cup of steamed milk to the tea. 
Top with foam.

Photo credit: http://www.justbellablog.com/2011/03/must-drink-london-fog.html
Recipe adapted from: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/LA-COLLINA-LONDON-FOG-1240327


People > Things

All of that Missoni/Target madness last week left me feeling a little hopeless for humanity. What is the appeal in waking up at the crack of dawn, wrestling with desperate housewives and then coming home with a cheap version of the real thing? Then again, I never bought into the fake LV/Coach purse thing. Maybe I'm alone on this, but I was hoping the downward economy showed us we're better than just name brands, quantity and proving ourselves through stuff. My philosophy is quality over quantity. Any takers??

I've found something with wholesome roots to restore the faith, and it's sooo good. It's a magazine called Kinfolk, and it's the sweetest, loveliest e-mag around that celebrates small gathering. With earthy photographs and simple articles on time spent alone, in pairs or a larger group, Kinfolk is a step back from the material world. It's a great reminder that things are really not so important after all.

Read it here: Kinfolk Mag


Palette Inspiration: Apple & Lavender

I'm going to try a bit of a new series around here..."Palette Inspiration". I'll take a beautiful photo and break it down by colour, and then show how you can bring those hues into your home. I'd love your feedback, or any favourite images to deconstruct!


Starting Anew

I think it's time for a few changes around here. I'm a huge over-thinker, and I've been mulling for months over what changes I'm ready to embark on this fall...this blog included!

Aside from being my favourite season (who doesn't love cozy sweaters, leather boots and pumpkin spice lattes??), autumn makes me want to test the waters on new things. After celebrating the big 2-5 just a few weeks ago, I've realized I've read enough Pinterest quotes on "following your dreams" to finally take a leap or two. Yours truly is in the market for something new. And yes, sometimes it just might happen to rhyme.

I may not be the most regular blogger, but I can promise you that The Beautiful Shelter will bring you more original design content, delicious recipes and a few sweet getaways in the coming months. I might even get that blog header fixed....


Give me a reason to buy....

This playful Lines rug by photographer/stylist/designer Peggy Wong.

Clever birthday cards. And letterpress too!
And her photography is gorgeous and vibrant. Perfect for when the wallet says,
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